Time Capsule Project


Opportunity/ Context

The coming decades, encompassing the centenary of the ISSMGE (2036), are predicted to bring unprecedented changes in all walks of life, through the underlying shift in views and attitudes towards digital advances and sustainability considerations, accelerated by the necessary changes in practice and expectations that COVID 19 has brought.

Nevertheless, because of the past, we are here today! We have the opportunity to create an entirely virtual Time Capsule that brings together and provides a common heritage to all geotechnical engineers. It may also facilitate answering questions such as;

  • What did geotechnical engineering achieve then and what social conditions prompted it?
  • What were the successful achievements of geotechnical engineering?
  • What were the mistakes, and what could not be achieved?
  • What would be the evaluation of the past and present by the future generations?

Academic education and research played and continues to play a hugely influential role in geotechnical engineering, although this is not always well understood. 

Vision/ Purpose

This is an exercise that keeps us (the ISSMGE):

  1. in touch today and provides more continuity to the leadership of ISSMGE
  2. connecting ISSMGE with all of its base, in particular the 90% who are largely silent
  3. providing a vehicle for their rehearsing their voice and expressing their thoughts.


ISSMGE Time Capsule 2022 

Contributions have been invited from the past presidents of the ISSMGE, the member societies, the technical committees, corporate associates, and the Young Members Presidential Group (YMPG).

Contributors are invited to consider, the past, present and future in developing their contribution, and can submit on any or all aspect of time and scope they consider most appropriate for their case. The time capsule will also contain other key recollections, including legacy material from ISSMGE 75th year anniversary. 

Contributions can include major developments, areas of contribution, outcomes and applications, key individuals involved, exemplar projects and new avenues to explore, that highlight the development of geotechnical engineering and history of the contributor. 

A key focus of the Time Capsule project is the "process" by which there is connection and interaction with the individual members about the work of the contributors, an outcome of which is the "product" that is offered to the Time Capsule for storage and display. 

It is recommended that the "process" covers, approach to the individual members through communication and consultation, application through internal display and discussion forums, and follow through to get the most out of the time capsule material, be it in education, development of individuals or progressing geotechnical engineering. 

Both new and existing material will be held and promoted on an online platform named ISSMGE Time Capsule 2022. This will link and draw on a variety of source material provided by the contributors. There will be a formal launch at the 20th ICSMGE to be hosted by Sydney, Australia between 1-6 May 2022, with progressive promotion of time capsule material from December 2021. 

Implementation & Communication

The leadership of the member societies, YMPG and Technical Committees have been briefed by the TCP Design Team by a series of fortnightly online sessions held between May and August 2021. Corporate Associates will be briefed in late September 2021. 

The TCP Design Team is available to support all contributors and can be contacted through the contact form on this tab. 

Individual members can help promote debate and discussion by writing on any topic within the geotechnical engineering profession, using the Time Capsule Blog page (https://www.issmge.org/news/tcp-blog-posts) on the ISSMGE website. 

This message will be sent to Time Capsule Project administrators